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towboater.com
Moving on.
by Robert Rishel

Well. Another few months have flown by since the last update to the site. It seems the older I get the more the
calendar and clock conspire against me.  I suspect I am not alone in this sentiment. First of all I want to thank
everyone for the kind emails in response to the Great Escape article. The support and warm replies were, and are,
much appreciated.  I do want to clarify one thing regarding that ordeal. I do not harbor any hard feelings towards “big
Customer”. They made a business decision and frankly one that I would have probably considered myself had I been
in their position.  Our industry is under the national spotlight in terms of safety and any company having so many
incidents in such a short period of time should take a pause. Ultimately, we were responsible for the actions of the
crew representing us and we are the ones left holding that bag. Rightly so; that comes with the territory, with company
ownership. “Big Customer” is a great company, a leader in this industry in terms of safety, efficiency and
performance. There are some great people working there and they are making decisions with not only their company
in mind but also with the health of our industry in mind. That goes with the territory of being “Big”. And, no, I am not
back-pedaling; I still think it was too final and too shallow of a solution. It was a decidedly political, knee-jerk solution. It
is dangerous going through the wheelwash of a major corporation and I do not think we will be finished paying for it
anytime soon.

We have, however, moved on. We both took some time off to distress. My old partner did some trip work and I did
some internet design work. We have both lost a lot here, enough that a lesser man may have actually pulled the
trigger rather than just held the muzzle against their temple.  My old partner has leased a boat and is operating it
himself as pilot/operator. While I enjoyed working with him I just needed a break from the stress. I have taken a job
with a new, growing company which has strong financial backing; I just could not stomach going through what I know it
takes to start and run your own towboat company.  I will miss working with my old partner and he is and always will be
my very best friend. For now, I will be satisfied as an employee, enjoying the stability of a well financed, stable
operation. I had several offers and have even considered taking a position outside of the towboat industry.  It is hard
to turn your back on nearly twenty years of experience and investment in a profession to start all over at something
else. I think towboating is a blood borne illness, or a genetic mutation; you cannot ignore it once you invite it into your
life.

Fortunately, I have found a place to work that is inspiring and hopeful. A new company started by men with resources,
integrity and foresight. They share my ideals of treating people with respect, dignity and honesty. They have given
me the recruitment tools I need to compete with the Big Guns out there; great pay and benefits. If any of you guys are
interested, give me a call at 251.802.0871 We are currently operating two vessels with more to come.